Why Hiring an SEO Agency is a Tough Decision
Hiring an SEO agency can be one of the toughest jobs for a marketing director or owner of a company. How do you know if they are telling the truth? How do you know if they know what to do? How do you know if they will actually do the SEO work?
These are all the questions that make it tough after all, you might not even know what to ask. These days it is easy to talk the talk and drop terms but what it really comes down to is the actual work. Here are our top ways to know if you are working with an actual expert.
An SEO Company Will Want to See Your Data
If you are thinking about hiring an SEO company to help your business, you may be wondering what kind of data they will want to see and how they will use it. When you are looking at agencies or just consultants, you will want to make sure they have the skills and knowledge that are needed to help your business. It can be tough to get information from these types of agencies because they want to keep things like their strategies private and confidential until you decide that you want them to work with you.
Although there are lots of third-party tools we will talk about later only your actual Google tools and will give the best information. Your SEO agency you are looking to hire though should come to the table with some data they got from those third-party tools. But don’t expect them to give it all away. If they have strategies without seeing your data, run! Every business has a unique position in its online presence and this needs to be evaluated.
An SEO Company cannot Give Your Exact Strategies Before Seeing the Data
Anyone that is giving your exact strategies does not understand how SEO actually works. There are no out-of-the-box strategies that will work for every business in their current online marketing. Now adding consistent content is definitely something you should always have with SEO but outside of that, it depends. You should also not expect someone to come up with those strategies before you begin work with them.
Recently Search Engine journal released a 600-page document of what it takes to rank with SEO. It would be nearly impossible for an SEO agency to even remotely know what the lowest hanging fruit is without the research. You also don’t want your SEO agency to do the opposite and spend too much time coming up with an exhaustive list. They will find enough work for at least 3 months’ worth of work and continually add to this list. This is why they have to be really good with all the SEO tools.
An SEO Company Use Outside Tools and Google’s Own Tools
Now Google has its own SEO tool called search console that your SEO company should be very familiar with and should ask for access to it. You should have a good list of SEO tools and ask if they use them and what they like about them. Now while Google Search console can tell you how Google feels about your website it’s not always 100% correct. You have to be able to read between the line on what is accurate and what is not. For instance, they will show you where you rank for keywords, which really doesn’t matter, will get back to that and it can be wrong. They have aggregated results across all search results so the results vary there.
For these reasons and to keep them honest you need to triangulate amounts with a lot of different SEO tools. One of our other favorite tools is SEMrush which is chocked full of research and analysis tools to help you succeed with SEO. You can audit your website with SEMrush and get a pretty good list of items that you need to work on. Of course, it’s not always 100% correct too, so that triangulated analysis comes in again.
Before we forget, here is a list of our favorite SEO tools:
and well this could go on forever, we will end there.
An SEO Company Will Run Reports
You should be meeting your SEO agency at least once a month to discuss what is working and what is not working with your SEO. Yes, we said that right not everything is going to 100% be successful because there are no written rules to SEO. Sure Google has SEO guidelines, but they are just that guidelines. This is where the true analysis comes in of being able to read reports and trends to summarize what is the best way to move next with your SEO. If you are getting any kind of automated digital marketing reports you are not getting the true value from an agency.
Just a couple of other items to watch out for here is you are getting reports on only keyword rankings or traffic to your website. We wrote a blog post a while back on why keywords do not really matter but in simple terms, you are after more leads, not keyword rankings. Keyword rankings are only a symptom but not actually solving the problem. That also goes true for traffic to your website. An SEO agency can drive traffic to your website all day long but if it doesn’t convert it is bad traffic.
An SEO Company Will Explain the What and Why
With all this reporting, your SEO agency should and will explain everything they are doing plus any questions that you have. Digital marketing in general is getting harder with explaining results, but they should have answers. Now some of their answers might not be straightforward but as we have mentioned before there are no exact rules to SEO. The important thing to keep in mind here is that they have an answer, and they are able to explain. A really good answer for SEO questions might also involve some research on their part of your data to give an accurate answer. Because remember everyone is unique in where they are to their online marketing and SEO presence.
An SEO Company Should Not Have Packages
Because everyone is unique those SEO companies that have packages are just trying to sell you something that is easy to understand and for you to track, but they are not legit. A package can have basic items in it for sure that they will work on, but they should be upfront in that they cannot provide an exclusive or inclusive list of what they will work on because they should be working towards results. Here come those guarantees.
An SEO Company Will Not Make Guarantees
Hopefully, we have eluded enough that there are no set rules to get results with SEO. So any guarantees with SEO or any digital marketing should instantly say scam alert to yourself. Imagine how rich someone would be if they could actually guarantee a result of Google.
An SEO Company Will Not Have Special Contacts at Google
No, SEO companies also don’t have special contacts that work at Google to help them with SEO. They might know someone who has worked there but, it’s a large company and has been around for a while. Someone who has worked at Google is not any better than someone to has been actually in the field doing the work. Sure there are glorified sales reps that will call and help with your Google Ads. But their job is mostly to get you to spend more money with no strategy in mind. We once had a Google rep say they get paid based on the number of changes they get you to make! If you want to know more about Google Ads, check out our blog on that.
An SEO Company Will Watch Trends and Adjust as Needed
What they do is follow the trends of Google and all the updates. SEO is something that is constantly changing and evolving over time. There is nothing stagnate about it. Which is again going beyond writing a three-month plan for SEO is not a wise idea. What they also don’t do is immediately adjust to every new trend that comes out. They wait to analyze resources and data to see if it’s worth the effort. There are a lot of trends that get pushed out that never quite take off. Taking resources away from something that is already working can do more harm than good.
An SEO Company is Not Cheap
As you can see so far SEO takes a lot of work a lot of brainpower and a lot of resources. So it’s tough when it comes to pricing out SEO, how quickly do you want results is usually our first question. The more money we have the more resources we can throw at it. Although that doesn’t always solve the issues as with anything you do with SEO you are waiting on Google to pick up the changes you are doing and that can be a long wait. You shouldn’t expect results from SEO for at least 3-6 months, maybe more like 6-9 months. It’s hard to justify, but SEO is an ongoing thing and is not just something you sprinkle on when building a website. It takes knowledge, skill, and determination and that you need to pay for. Be very wary of anyone charging less than $1,000 a month, that’s a huge steal.
An SEO Company Will Have Good Reviews
This is where the rubber meets the road, what does everyone else say? They might be able to talk the talk all day but if no one else is talking about them, then that says more than you need to know. We have worked hard on our reviews of Elevated Marketing Solutions. Heck, we have even won some awards for the best SEO agency in Indianapolis. There is a lot to consider when hiring an SEO agency and while our list is not perfect we think we give some pretty good things to look out for.